Review of Primal Scream at The Ironworks, Inverness on the 14th of June, 2012 by Toby Stainton. Photographs by Thomas Bisset.
I was all set for a quiet night in on Thursday night but a late call up meant I had to hot foot it to the Ironworks to catch Primal Scream. I was more than happy to be InvernessGig’s super-sub to replace Frank who was still presumably recovering from Rock Ness…
Ambling on to a packed house Bobby Gillespie and Co opened their set with new song ‘2012’ before launching into ‘Swastika Eyes’ which in turn sent a packed out and very sweaty Ironworks into a frenzy of bouncing bodies and arms held aloft.
Tonight was essentially a greatest hits set and the pace was set to warp factor 10 for the first half. They rattled through ‘Movin on Up’, Thirteenth floor Elevator cover ‘Slip Inside this House’ and ‘Accelerator’. The pace eased up for ‘Damaged’ and ‘Higher than the Sun’ before another new song ‘Relativity’ was aired which led to the only real lull during the evening. This got a fairly muted response from the crowd with Bobby Gillespie wryly noting that it was more of a mixed reaction that he would have otherwise hoped for.
Things quickly got back on track with ‘Shoot Speed/Kill Light’ from XTRMNTR before a delighted Ironworks were treated to a pulsating version of ‘Loaded’ and then finished off with a nicely drawn out version of ‘Come Together’.
Gillespie looked and sounded healthy, as ever he is the absolute master of stagecraft, at times aloof and distant with the audience apparently barely registering with him, before breaking into a grin and bellowing ‘let’s raise the roof off this f-kin’ house Inverness’. The years seem to have been kind to Bobby despite well-documented battles with his various demons and his voice, whilst never the strongest, still sounded as good as ever. At times the sheer volume of the rest of the band was in danger of drowning him out but fortunately this never came to fruition.
Bass duties were taken over by Debbie Googe of My Bloody Valentine in the absence of Mani, and new(ish) guitarist Barrie Cadogan proved his mettle by smoothly taking over during ‘Loaded’ when the other guitarist Andrew Innes was having technical problems. The only real disappointment was of their tendency to rely on a backing track for the female backing vocals during some of their songs (particularly the Screamadelic era tunes). I would have thought a band of their continuing stature could at least afford to have an extra backing singer on tour with them.
Returning to stage after what seemed to be an age, Primal Scream finished us off with rousing versions of ‘Country Girl’, ‘Jailbird’ and ‘Rocks’. The Ironworks was as enthusiastic as I’ve ever seen it, plenty of fists punching the air, empty (and some not so empty!) plastic pint glasses being thrown into the air with gay abandon, pogo-ing and even the odd devil horn thrown in for good measure!
It’s hard to be believe that some of these songs are twenty years old, played live they sound as fresh and relevant as ever and could easily give the current crop of po-faced indie bands a run for their money. The only real giveaway that this is a band with some real history behind them is the profusion of baldy heads in the audience!
The final act as they left the stage was to leave their instruments on with feedback, screeches and bleeps blaring from the speakers, this was enough to persuade us it was time to go home and count the cost to our eardrums. Ultimately it was worth it though and this was undeniably a triumphant return to the Ironworks from Primal Scream.
Full set list:
Movin On Up